The 2019 Summer Seminar is Live!

19 July 2019

At the start of the month, the second Outer Coast Summer Seminar kicked off with 23 rising high school juniors and seniors.

The student body is participating in academically rigorous, college-level courses, engaging in work-based service in Sitka, and developing a system of self-governance through which they are making decisions about their learning and residential community.

We are shooting for student experiences that build off last year’s foundations — in the words of one member of that cohort: “One of the best things about being here was that you really get treated like an adult. It felt like an equal conversation, and I really loved that.”

Here’s what that has looked like so far:

Ultimate Frisbee and Filipino food from Sizzling Chow at Sitka’s Totem Square with our first student arrival, Daniel Walsh, all the way from Ningbo, China.

Summer Seminar Convocation at Sitka National Historic Park (Totem Park). Through meaningful contributions from Louise Brady, Dionne Brady-Howard, Kassie Eubanks-Littlefield, Tlingit Elders Daasdiyáa Ethel Makinen and G̱ooch Tláa Anne Johnson, Sitka Tribe of Alaska Tribal Chair KathyHope Erickson, and STA Cultural Resource Department Education Manager and Summer Seminar staffulty Lakrisha (Brady) Johnson, students and staff had an incredible opportunity to learn about the land that they will be on during their five-week stay as well as about the Kiks.ádi clan, whose ancestral home is here in Sheet’ká.

Students instituting a plastic bag ban in their first student body meeting to reduce waste during the Summer Seminar.

And students figuring out a meal preparation and clean-up routine after more than a little chaos (and maybe even squalor) after our first few days together.

A stealth showing in the Sitka 4th of July Parade. Students made the game-time decision to jettison their Outer Coast signage and followed in the footsteps of many other bandit race participants, traveling the parade course to murmurs of “Who are those whippersnappers?”

Two community Tlingit language lessons, led by X̱’unei Lance Twitchell, including a wide range of language-learners from across Sitka. Elders L’éiwtu Éesh Herman Davis, G̱ooch Tláa Anne Johnson, and Daasdiyáa Ethel Makinen attended and spoke at the events. For those in Sitka, there will be one more community lesson on Saturday, July 27, 12-2pm at Centennial Hall.

Student Storytelling (or public speaking) adjacent to student-built (and staffulty supervised) bonfire along Sitka Harbor. Storytelling is an opportunity for students to share about themselves or about something that is important to them. It was smoky.

A BBQ at the Pioneer Home last Friday, which was the first student-led service project. Students will be increasingly responsible for planning and implementing service on their own as the summer progresses. S’mores anyone?

Thank you all for your support in getting us to this point. It’s just the beginning.

P.S. A huge thanks to all of the businesses and organizations across Sitka and Alaska, more broadly, who are sponsoring the 2019 Summer Seminar. You are helping to make all of the above happen!

SEARHC, Lynden, NAC, Credit Union 1, LFS, White’s Inc, Saltchuk, Spenard Builders Supply, ALPS Federal Credit Union, Sitka Rotary Club, North Pacific Seafoods, Sitka Charitable Trust, Alaska Litho, Ludvig’s Bistro, Sitka Woman’s Club, Sitka Vision Clinic, and Sitka Rose Gallery.

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